Coming in to spring training, our rotation was shaping up to be: Patrick Corbin, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miley. As of this evening, it has become Miley, Josh Collmenter, Chase Anderson, Mike Bolsinger and Vidal Nuño, with Nuño becoming the 10th different pitcher to start again for the 2014 Diamondbacks. With seventy games still remaining, that's already just two off the franchise high set in the previous disaster seasons of 2004 and 2010, and only the Rockies (13!) have used more in the National League than us. How did we get here?
Our Opening Day starter didn't even get that far. He left his final tune-up outing at Goodyear in the middle of an at-bat, with what was described at the time as "forearm stiffness." It appears to have come out of nowhere, with Miguel Montero initially thinking Corbin might have twisted his ankle when he called for a get-together. "He couldn't really put them away with that breaking ball he normally throws," Montero said. "It was just kind of floating out there and backing up. That might be the reason why." A MRI showed a partial tear in Corbin's UCL, and after a second opinion, Dr. James Andrews performed Tommy John surgery on Mar. 25. Replaced by: Randall Delgado.
Delgado was in the 2013 rotation, but the signing of Arroyo seemed to knock him off. Out of minor-league options, the plan was to stash him in the bullpen as long relief. However, Corbin's injury opened the door, and Delgado beat prospect Archie Bradley for the spot. However, Delgado's two starts were ugly, resulting in a combined line of 16 hits and nine earned runs allowed in only 7.1 innings, with a K:BB ratio of 3:5. While all our starters got out of the gate slowly, Kirk Gibson made the change. "We need innings out of guys that give us a chance to win the ball game. Just looking at our options, we think it's the smartest way to go." Replaced by: Josh Collmenter.
Trevor wasn't brilliant last year, but wasn't terrible, giving us a sub-four ERA. This season, however, he struggled out of the gate, being unable to locate his pitches. He lost his first four starts with a 9.17 ERA and walked 13 batters in 17.2 innings. Initially, he was moved to the bullpen, but then accepted a minor-league assignment with the aim of getting him stretched back out as a starter. The results seem to indicate work still in progress, Cahill having walked 15 batters and hit two in 26.1 innings. But he won't be there forever.. Kevin Towers said, "It's not open-ended. There's a time we're going to bring him back either in the pen or as a starter." Replaced by: Mike Bolsinger.
Bolsinger made four starts plus a relief appearance for the Diamondbacks, and only recorded an out past the fifth inning in one of those starts, posting a 6.08 ERA, though did have a decent K:BB of 22:8 in 23.2 innings. As we noted at the time, the decision to make a change may have been partly the result of opening an appearance against the Brewers with a first-pitch meatball to Carlos Gomez - after Kirk Gibson had gone out of his way before the game to say how aggressive Gomez was early, and that pitchers needed to be careful with him as a result. Replaced by: Chase Anderson.
Promoted from Double-A Mobile, Anderson had been destroying batters there, with an ERA of 0.69 over 39 innings, and a K:BB ratio of 38:6. Admittedly, he was kinda old for the level, but perhaps that's partly why he was chosen over any Triple-A options. Has gone 6-4 since the call-up, with his record being more to do with run support than anything. The D-backs have average nine runs per game in his wins, 1.5 in his losses. Still in the rotation at this point, but Chase did have to be supplemented in New York, when a rain-out on May 23rd curtailed his start. When the game was played in a double-header two days later, he was replaced by Zeke Spruill.
The iron man of starting pitchers had never gone on the DL since reaching the majors in 2000. But there were warning signs in spring training, with Arroyo having to skip starts with an inflamed disk in his back. He didn't make the trip to Australia, but had recovered in time for his first start on April 3. But the injury gods decided they should make up for lost time, and Arroyo's elbow blew out, apparently during his May 13 appearance against Washington. Remarkably, he made six starts after that, with a 3.99 ERA, but the recovery was becoming increasingly difficult, and he hit the DL on June 17. Tommy John surgery will now follow. Replaced by: Mike Bolsinger.
If you'd told us at the beginning of the season that McCarthy would have made every scheduled start this year, we'd have taken it, for his career was defined as much by injury as effectiveness. However, that wasn't the case this year, McCarthy staying healthy but rolling to an ugly 3-10 record with an ERA above five - despite peripherals like the best strikeout rate of his career. With his contract up at the end of the season, and the team dropping far out of contention, even McCarthy understood his departure seemed inevitable, saying "It certainly seems likely." And so it proved over the weekend. Replaced by: Vidal Nuño.
Place your bets who might be next. For we haven't even seen Bradley yet...